A visit to Serralves Villa offers a chance to take a trip back in time: to this unique example of Art Deco architecture, built in the 1930s. With great decorative rigor and quality materials, the Villa benefited from the intervention of leading figures of the time, such as Marques da Silva, Charles Siclis, Jacques Émile Ruhlmann, René Lalique and Edgar Brandt.
Visitors can gain an in-depth understanding of the history of the origins of this Villa, which belonged to Count Carlos Alberto Cabral, including explanation of the architectural and decorative details that create its unique atmosphere.
The Villa’s main façade develops along the Rua de Serralves, overlooking the garden. The interior, decisively marked by lioz stone, consists of three floors. In the basement there is the kitchen, pantry and service areas; the ground floor contains the living, dining and lobby areas; and the first floor houses the bedrooms. Over the main entrance there is a glass canopy linked to the door and a semicircular extension of the wall around the Park. The other entrance has a built-in patio, located between the building's volumes, which articulates and distributes the space along the Villa’s longest axis.
Leading European furniture designers contributed to the interior of Serralves Villa. Émile Jacques Ruhlmann designed the dining room, the hall, the salon, the foyer and the billiard room, René Lalique designed the skylight above the hall on the first floor and Edgar Brandt created the wrought iron gate that separates the communal area from the private rooms. Ivan Da Silva Bruhns, Leleu, Jean Perzel, Raymond Subes, and Alfred Porteneuve chose the Villa’s colour. Much of the original furniture now has various owners, after being auctioned.
Charles Siclis (1889–1944) — French architect and decorator, born in Paris and particularly renowned during the 1920s and 1930s. His most famous works include the Chiquito café (1927) and the Colisée café (1932) in Paris.
José Marques da Silva (1869–1947) — attended the Portuguese Academy of Fine Arts and then moved to Paris to pursue his studies. In Porto, his work includes the São Bento Train Station, the São João National Theatre, the Armazéns Nascimento department store, the new Cedofeita Church, the Alexandre Herculano High School, the working-class district of Monte Pedral and the Avenida dos Aliados.
Emile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879–1933) — An interior decorator by training, he also worked in the field of architecture. Drawing direct inspiration from eighteenth century furniture, he modernised interior design by simplifying it and underlining its geometric shapes. In 1925 he presented the Hotel d´un Collectionneur pavilion in the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels, designed by the architect, Pierre Patout